Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2015

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10 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 5 EDITOR'S NOTE I initially contacted the therapist because he came highly recommended from a coworker. But from the get- go he was too friendly. When the session started, I could tell his hands were talented, but he wouldn't be quiet. I didn't care how beautiful his ex-wives were, but my silence was too passive to quiet him. Um, he's working my tight pectoral muscles, but a little too close to my breasts for my comfort. I fold my arms, and he moves away from the area without hesitation or comment. Nice strokes, but … oh, yikes, I'm not comfortable with him working that close to my pelvic triangle. I'll shift my torso a bit. That does the trick, but now I'm on guard. Surely I'm mistaken. I need to not be so tightly wrapped. I was relieved when the session was over. As I drove away, I knew I would never return, even though he called and tried to get me to rebook. Later, as I read the police reports regarding this same therapist, I got sick to my stomach. What these women— these assault victims—experienced sounded all too familiar. I walked away from my session shaking my head; they walked away changed for life. I forced myself to read every single word; their stories resonated with each other and shadowed mine. Now I'm angry. This man is a talented and well-educated therapist, and he has a thriving practice. Why did he step over the line? I'll probably never know. From my editor's vantage point, I hear the stories and I know they can happen to anyone. A phone call: a young female MT raped by a supposed spa owner when she went into a job interview with him. An email: an American businessman who's a massage devotee, but was inappropriately touched in a five- star hotel spa abroad and felt like he'd done something wrong to bring it on. I got irate when I heard a group of women at a posh party giggling about getting "happy-ending" massages from a "smoking hot" male therapist at a spa in a ritzy part of Denver. I hate that sexual impropriety seeps into our healing, holistic, nurturing profession, but it does. To not face it head-on, like Emma K. does is doing a disservice. I applaud her and bodywork icon Ben Benjamin for partnering on this subject. Turn to page 74 to read their pieces. Let's be clear: this isn't about men, and this isn't about women, and it's also not about therapeutic massage. It's about flawed human beings who are sexual predators and misuse their positions of control for their own twisted purposes. Worse yet, many of these predators know just how to manipulate victims like Emma K. who have histories of abuse. Please read her story—and read it without judgment. And then decide, as Ben Benjamin did, what you can do to stop incidents like these from happening. Begin by knowing your boundaries as a professional and as an individual. Trust your instincts. Speak out. Honor your profession. It needs you and your integrity. LESLIE A. YOUNG, Editor-in-Chief leslie@abmp.com Zero Tolerance Trust Your Instincts. Speak Out. Honor Your Profession. Begin by knowing your boundaries as a professional and as an individual. The profession needs you and your integrity.

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